Call it an off night for the Steelers run game Saturday against the Bills. Le'Veon Bell started and played the first eight snaps over two series for the Steelers but had just 11 yards on four carries and no catches. After getting three straight handoffs in the second series, Bell was replaced by LeGarrette Blount who played on eight straight snaps over two series himself but he actually did worse than Bell, totaling zero yards on three runs which included snaps with the second-team offense.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin insists their respective workloads haven't been determined yet and that Saturday's action was just a step in the process.
"We're trying to work both guys, but at the same time we want to get them enough extended action that we know them as fatigue sets in. Playing consecutive plays is a big part of that," Tomlin said. "Both guys are going to get their share but I want both guys to have the lead dog mentality, and in order to have that and do that you gotta see them for spurts of extended period of time. But don't read too much into it, we're just still growing and developing in terms of our division of labor. I like both guys, obviously, and both guys are going to be big components of why we're successful."
In a quick chat with CBSSports.com after the game, Bell said he's looking forward to learning from and sharing with Blount.
"He's going to keep me fresh, I'm going to keep him fresh," Bell said of Blount. "It's definitely important to stay fresh. Last year there were some runs I wasn't as fresh as I could have been. I could have maybe got more yards. LeGarrette, Dri [Archer], those guys are definitely going to help me out and I'm going to help them out as best as I can."
So does that mean Bell would be upset if the coaches gave Blount goal-line snaps?
"They probably will do that, that's probably what will happen," Bell said. "He's a big, strong guy, so when they put him in, he's in. We hopefully get that touchdown and I'm glad. I don't care."
Bell's comment is interesting because Blount isn't known for being the short-yardage/goal-line type. That doesn't mean he can't fit the role, of course. Blount's the bigger back of the two. Bell's versatility should put him ahead of Blount in terms of playing time, however. He's still rock solid as the kind of Fantasy running back you can confidently draft in Round 2, though pairing him with Blount and forming the Steelers backfield on your own roster is advised.